It has really happened. Despite there being no big meeting, the opencast mine company’s bosses have decided to continue the railway operation, at least until 2018.
The locomotives are now being driven much more gently. There are no hefty departures with slipping wheels, almost no sparks anymore and the number of locomotives now serving the pit has been reduced to three.
Two more locomotives have escaped the grave yard and are in the workshop now. After a hydraulic pressure test, the boilers will get an extended certificate. Tyres are being turned and other works carried out there is still life in these old dogs!
Nanzhan will continue as well. They’ve closed the unproductive mine at Yijing but the rest of the operation is unchanged.
The dinosaurs of the age of industrialisation are almost extinct. But there are two water holes left:
I won’t say anything about the last tour to
No matter whether you’re a newcomer to steam in China or a well experienced gricer who just wants to say goodbye to the era of steam, this tour is made for all your needs.
Flight to Beijing
Arrival in Beijing, charter bus to a hotel near the airport.
10.12. until 15.12.
In the morning we’ll go by shuttle bus to the airport and fly to Hami. Charter bus from Hami to Sandaoling. We’ll drop our luggage in the hotel there and head for the last big water hole for steam enthusiasts Sandaoling. The best location for genuine steam in the world: Sandaoling. It’ll never become boring!
Time to say goodbye to the open cast mine of Sandaoling. One more time we’ll take pictures and videos of the famous last heavy coal trains out of the pit. Around noon we’ll return to Hami and fly to
By hotel shuttle bus to the airport and return flight home, arrival in
First of all, we are at the edge of a steam-free age, we can’t rule out that lines may have changed to diesel locomotives before we arrive or even closed down completely. The itinerary is based on information from May 2017, several months before we go to these sites. There is no substitute if Sandaoling is dieselised or closed. No guarantees and virtually no refunds are possible.
Sandaoling has become the
All coal trains from the loading facilities deep in the pit must climb out of the open cast mine to reach the unloading point. This is a thrash of almost 3 miles for the heavy trains. In the best case you can witness this spectacle about every 20 minutes to half an hour. Sometimes there is a gap of up to four hours, but then it starts again! Most, if not all, of the coal trains are hauled chimney first out of the pit.
The trains are all “push-pull” trains with a small signal cabin built on the platform of the last wagon of each train. Empty trains are pushed into the mine and loaded trains are pulled loco first. With a semaphore on the roof of these miniature “cabooses”, the loco driver gets the signal forward. This is an unusual operation pattern in
Sunsets in Sandaoling can be amazing. There are quite a lot of reasons to go there but the main reason is that normally there are five hard working JSs in the area!
A visit to the workshop is, again, possible, but the lower levels within the pit are not permitted any more. In the open cast mine there are several cameras, so an unauthorised visit is not recommended either. But we’re allowed to walk down to the first station after the loading point. On this section, from the unloading point to the first station inside the pit, you can take dozens of good shots. Conclusion: still the greatest steam show on earth.
We expect a morning temperature around minus ten to minus 20 degrees Centigrade in Sandaoling, while afternoons can be as mild as plus 5 to plus ten degrees Centigrade. The photo equipment usually has no problems with these temperatures, it’s only the batteries. When not using them you should pack them in a warm place. We can warm up in our charter bus any time, so it’s not too difficult to stand the winter with the right clothing. The recent winters have been very mild during our stay in
The voltage in
This tour is designed for both dedicated photographers and video film makers. Our philosophy is to provide opportunities to get that perfect sunrise shot rather than a time consuming 5-star breakfast buffet. Breakfast and lunch may be served as a packed meal. Dinner is planned to be a proper (Chinese) meal. Times for meals can vary. Beverages are not included in the tour price. Our hotel in Sandaoling doesn’t offer breakfasts, but there are small restaurants just across the street.
We’re planning to do some night shots. Please take an appropriate tripod with you. Yes, even in the digital age a tripod does help a lot when it comes to tricky light situations!
The coal mining industry in
Hotels, charter buses and trains represent the standard of our host country, which may deviate from European or North American expectations. While we will endeavour to avoid long walks, some photo positions may require an extra but worthwhile effort. You should be physically fit if you want to go down to the bottom of the pit. Always remember that you need to climb back up the plus/minus 100 metres that you went down.
The hotels used will be of medium class but in remote areas, i.e. Sandaoling, that is very basic. A hot shower and a private bathroom with a western style toilet are available in all our hotels.
Hygienic and environmental standards in
|Scraping The Barrel Tour No. 3 - Sandaoling
|14 to 22 participants
|7 to 13 participants
|Single room surcharge
|Registration Deadline: 08.11.2017
The price includes:
Not included are: